Glasgow & West Scotland

Glasgow helicopter crash: Aircraft removed from pub

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Media captionThe wreckage of the helicopter was lifted from the pub

Rescuers have removed a helicopter which crashed into a busy Glasgow pub killing at least nine people.

The wreckage of the Police Scotland aircraft was winched from The Clutha, where it came down at 22:25 on Friday.

A full search of the pub is now under way. The body of a ninth victim has been removed. Police have said they cannot rule out finding more bodies.

The three helicopter crew died in the incident, along with six people inside the pub. Five victims have been named.

Following Monday morning's operation, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service tweeted: "Helicopter has now been safely removed which will allow our specialist urban search and rescue crews to continue search of building."

A short time later two private ambulances, escorted by Police Scotland outriders, left the scene of the tragedy.

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Media captionDavid Miller, Air Accident Investigations: ''Nothing detached from the helicopter on flight''

Rescuers including firefighters, ambulance staff and police officers formed a guard of honour as the vehicles passed by.

Police Scotland Deputy Chief Constable Rose Fitzpatrick later said the body of the ninth person had been removed from the scene and taken to the city's Southern general Hospital for formal identification.

She said that in due course the helicopter wreckage would be moved to the Air Accidents Investigation Brach's Farnborough facility "for detailed examination".

'Painstaking process'

She added: "This now enables us, working with colleagues from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, to continue the search and recovery operation within the site, to satisfy ourselves that all the victims of Friday night's tragic incident have been recovered."

Deputy Chief Constable Fitzpatrick said the operation continued to be "difficult and complex" and a "painstaking process" was "underway to search and also preserve the scene".

She also acknowledged the strain this was placing on the families of people who are presumed to have died in the tragedy.

Image caption Samuel McGhee, Gary Arthur, David Traill, Tony Collins and Kirsty Nelis all died in Friday's crash

Earlier, the father of a missing man, Mark O'Prey, told the BBC about his frustration over the amount of time the operation was taking.

Ian O'Prey said: "I thought if they'd made a better attempt on the Saturday night, I thought they perhaps could have got them out a lot earlier than they did but I think they were more concerned about this helicopter."

Referring to this and other families' concerns, Deputy Chief Constable Fitzpatrick said: "The uncertainty for the families of those who have died is at the front out our minds.

"It remains our absolute priority to give clarity to those affected as soon as we are able."

Earlier, Scotland's Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told BBC Scotland firefighters were working as quickly and safely as possible.

"I know that those in the air accident investigation side of this have described this as one of the most complex sites that they've ever worked on," she said.

Image caption Fire crews prepare to lift the helicopter

"It's important that the helicopter is removed in a way that firstly preserves the dignity of the victims inside the pub, but secondly doesn't impose any unnecessary risks on the people carrying out this work.

"I fully and completely understand the frustration and the anguish for people who are waiting for news."

Two of the six victims inside the pub have been named as Samuel McGhee, 56, of Glasgow, and 48-year-old Gary Arthur, from Paisley, Renfrewshire.

The three dead helicopter crew were pilot David Traill, 51, and Police Constables Kirsty Nelis, 36, and Tony Collins, 43. NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde medical director, Dr Jennifer Armstrong, confirmed that of the 32 people who were injured in the crash, 12 remain in hospital.

Image caption The helicopter is lifted free of the pub

Eight patients are being treated at Glasgow Royal Infirmary and one patient is at the city's Western Infirmary.

A further two patients have been transferred to the National Queen Elizabeth Spinal Injuries Unit at the Southern General Hospital, taking the total number of patients at that unit to three.

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Media captionAerial views show the extent of the devastation where the helicopter plunged into the pub

It has been confirmed that Police Scotland will continue to lead the investigation into the crash.

The Independent Police Investigations and Review Commissioner for Scotland said it has had discussions with the Crown Office and the police service and the situation would be kept under review.

Officers conducting the investigation have asked for any footage of the incident to be emailed to:

A separate investigation into the cause of the crash is being led by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB).

Its team is being assisted by experts from Eurocopter, which manufactured the EC135 T2 aircraft.

Image caption The helicopter is set down on the street after being winched from the roof

The Scottish Police Authority (SPA) confirmed that Police Scotland would continue to operate a helicopter in support of operations.

The aircraft which crashed was operated by Bond Helicopters and the SPA said the firm was contracted to continue supplying the service.

As tributes to the dead and injured continue to be made, Pope Francis said he was praying for the victims and their families.

The Pope's message of sympathy, sent via his ambassador to the UK, Papal Nuncio Archbishop Antonio Mennini, reads: "I would like hereby to convey to you, as Archbishop of Glasgow, the closeness of the Holy Father as well as my most sincere sympathy in these difficult moments.

"I assure you of my prayers for those who have tragically lost their lives or have been injured, as well as their relatives."

Within the city, efforts continue to help survivors and the bereaved.

Glasgow City Council said it had put measures in place to provide financial assistance to victims of the incident.

Charitable funds administered by the council will be made available to support anyone facing hardship as a result of the tragedy - including casualties and the families of those who lost their lives.

The council said it was already in contact with some of those affected by the incident - and will announce further details of how help will be made available.

The actor Colin McCredie, best known for his role in TV drama Taggart, has also said he plans to organise a concert to raise money for victims and their families.

The Clutha, in Stockwell Street on the banks of the River Clyde, was packed with about 120 people listening to live music when the helicopter crashed into it.

A BBC Scotland documentary, The Crash That Shook Scotland, will be broadcast on BBC One Scotland at 22:35 GMT on Monday.

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